Art, music, merriment meet on Main Street

Geneseo's Main Street came alive last Friday, Sept. 21, as local artists scattered up and down the sidewalk to display their works to the community during this year's Art Stroll. The Art Stroll, organized by a committee of the Geneseo Board of Trustees (specifically members Bob Wilcox and William Wadsworth), gave Geneseo residents and students alike an opportunity to mingle and proudly enjoy the entertaining and diverse products of their local artists.

One of the first displays was of several paintings and prints done by local artist Julia Stewart. Specifically, her impressionist oil paintings of local landscapes boasted dazzling interplays of light and shadow as a result of a detailed mix of colors. In fact, one of her most skilled examples was a large depiction of Temple Hill, located in Geneseo. Some of Stewart's prints also included another type of artwork: mandala. These are circular, freeform creations meant to be symbolic of an artist's particular vision. Stewart described the process of creating one by illustrating, saying, "I imagine I'm taking people to a pool of water, then just let things happen - it's like a dream, almost."

An artist working in a much more unusual medium is Geneseo senior Chris Held, who proudly displayed his "wood cuts." Held created a wood cut by choosing an image, refining it into simple forms, etching it into a thin sheet of wood, and then finally inking it in. According to him, each detailed piece takes fifty to sixty hours to complete. Many of his designs featured natural subjects. His wood cut "Peaceful Falls," depicting a small waterfall in Letchworth State Park, has been selected to be shown in an elite art exhibit.

"People take their surroundings at home for granted…I wanted to enjoy my surroundings…to connect [with them] at a more intimate level," Held said of his inspiration. He has only been creating his works for six months, but has achieved much professional recognition for them.

Another interesting exhibit came from the Geneseo Migrant Center located in Mount Morris, which displayed drawings and poems done by local migrant farm workers. The GMC runs a program in which local artists and writers visit migrant camps and work with the laborers there to cultivate their talents and give them creative outlets for their energies. The examples shown spoke to the success of this program, including poems to loved ones in native countries as well as mandalas featuring textures, styles, colors, and themes of the Hispanic heritage.

The main feature of the Art Stroll was the exhibit at the Lockhart Gallery entitled "Many Visions." The display contained the works of renowned local artist and former Geneseo professor Richard Beale, who has been painting for over forty years. The many styles and mediums present in the display reflect Beale's desire to experiment independently of the trends of his times and ranges from still lifes, surrealist works, portraits and everything in between. His exhibit was truly an unpredictable and entertaining experience.

Musicians from several different groups also added to the enjoyment of the Art Stroll. By far the most popular, though, was the steel drum band Steel Alchemy, which has been together for seven years and is currently directed by member Ted Canning. Large crowds gathered around them throughout the festivities, and their music could be heard up and down Main Street.

The Geneseo Art Stroll was a very successful venture, bringing students and residents alike together in a celebration of many diverse examples of the arts from the local area. Wilcox and Wadsworth, as well as all other contributors, have helped spawn artistic interest and appreciation throughout the community.